Columbus Day always marks some significant things for me. First off, regardless of the the time change and official calendar start of Autumn, I have to think about curing the olives and pressing the grapes for wine. I also have to remember to turn on the heat in the house as its getting colder, or I wake up freezing. I also make it a policy NEVER to turn on the heat until Columbus Day, although I broke down a week earlier this year.
I also have to remember its my brother’s annual fishing trip with childhood friends out in Long Island, and he will bring me back enough fish for a month. There he is above. And, on the 2nd day of fishing, there were only 3-4 of them out on the boat, and as you can see from the photo below, there is enough bass to feed at least 3 dozen people, probably more.
So I have to remember a few things, its harvest time all the way around, and instead of making the batch of “Red Lead” (meatballs, sausage, braciole and sauce to last a month or two), to factor in a lot of fish on my menu. And, the only way to do that is look back on old blogs and recipes to re-invent, re-visit and explore new ones.
This year I bought a new grill which I am absolutely in love with, and I can’t really say that about any other grill. I’ve grilled more within the last 6 months than quite possibly the last 6 years. The right grill makes all the difference in the world. It can easily cook for one or 1-dozen. I generally don’t like endorsing products, because people automatically think I am paid to endorse these products. I’m not. I am a consumer and when I hate something you hear about it and when I love something, people insist I disclose all information I have about it, so here it is… the Weber Q100…
Its portable, its great for camping, tailgating, and quite frankly, even for a family of 4 or party of 24. Why waste $500 on a huge grill that will eat up a lot of propane just to heat up, when you can spend $150 on a smaller grill that will easily cook 12 burgers in a shot, and by time you give them a few mins to rest when done cooking (as you should), the next batch is already cooking for the next dozen burgers or 24 hotdogs. It might take a little work but this is a small powerhouse. You can read all the features and reviews, but I will tell you the only drawback which is easy to resolve. The propane tank is small, to be portable, but also only holds enough for about 5 hours on high. If you do the math, its about enough to cook about 4 meals considering you need a good 10 minutes to heat it up. Even still, thats cheap enough, the tanks are less than $3 each, but you can buy an adapter hose to hook up to the larger propane tanks like the Blue Rhino which are about $16 and will last you an entire season most likely. Also, the 1-push ignitor burns out after several months, but I conserve it and use matches or a long grill lighter instead anyway.
I never dreamed of cooking mussels, broccoli rabe or anything else that might seem absurd and could easily spell disaster, but just take a look at this perfectly designed cast iron grill can cook… close enough so food does not fall through, and far apart enough to cook the food well.
This brings me to my very last point. Which is, grilling in September is very different than grilling in October. It will take you a few more minutes to heat it up, and a few more minutes to cook whatever you are cooking, so pay attention. That piece of fish or burger or steak that took 10 minutes might now take 15-20, its not easy to guess or gauge since the weather has changed. The grill will not keep as hot in 70f, 80f or 90f degrees as it will at 50F or 60F, so just remember that, especially if you are following a grilling recipe online or from a cookbook.
The greatest thing about this, is when the power goes out like it does sometimes in the winter, I still have a cooking source.